Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Spain’s Costa Denies Stamping On Iran Goalkeeper

Spain’s Costa Denies Stamping On Iran Goalkeeper

A lucky Diego Costa goal handed World Cup hopefuls Spain their first win of the World Cup although tenacious Iran came close to causing a major upset on Wednesday.

Spain and Iran, both in Morocco's Group B, faced each other for the first time ever.

A scintillating 3-3 draw with Portugal in their Group B opener means Fernando Hierro's side desperately need to beat Iran to secure the chance of a last 16 place ahead of a final group match with Morocco.

The 24-year-old full-back, who has been capped 20 times for his home country, ended up costing his team a valuable 30 seconds in the dying stages of the game, only for Spain to come back and claim the match with a final score of 1 - 0.

Hierro said in the post-match press conference: "I think there are 32 great teams here at this World Cup and no-one is giving anything away, so anyone who thinks it is going to be very easy to score and win by a landslide is wrong".

When asked about what achievement he wants to make, he said that athletes always want to achieve the highest possible title, and they are now hoping to win the World Cup here.

Spain began the World Cup in ominous fashion, long-time coach Julen Lopetegui sensationally sacked on the eve of the tournament after Real Madrid announced he would be joining the club in July. But, like they say, don't use your head where it is not needed. "We're a team and we have to stick together".

Iran football team
Iran football team

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not reveal the identity of the person, who felt ill after referee Andres Cunha disallowed Saeid Ezatolahi's goal.

Carjaval is now hoping future opponents at Russian Federation 2018, starting with Morocco in their Group B closer, are more ambitious in their play.

"As a 23-man group we are very committed - we are one team and that is how we will play until the end", added Costa.

Queiroz had no doubt about the size of the task facing his side when he spoke to the worldwide media on Tuesday, accepting "Iran don't have supermen like Spain, but we can do super things" as he plotted the unlikely downfall of a team battling suggestions of crisis.

Yet, this World Cup has already been a tournament of upsets, with underdogs rising to the occasion and stunning their more-illustrious opponents. "The better they are, the more we will fight", he said.

Dani Carvajal told AS after the game that while he has no problem with defending deeply and committing fouls, "Iran's time-wasting, pretending to be injured or hurt - to me, that's not football, it's disloyal".

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